Scotland’s most iconic visitor attraction will be turned into a “Castle of Light” for Edinburgh’s winter festival season.
The after-hours event at Edinburgh Castle which will see the 900-year-old landmark transformed by a series of dramatic projections.
Set to a specially-created soundtrack, the all-ticket light show, will be staged on 22 night across five weeks in November and December.
Billed as the city centre’s biggest ever “light experience,” it will be the first major public event to be staged within the walls of the castle to be staged after dark in its history.
Special effects inspired by the castle’s history will be created for nine locations, while the castle and its esplanade will also be lit up for the show’s duration. It is hoped up to 40,000 people will attend this year’s event, with further runs already planned in 2020 and 2021 depending on demand.
Tickets for the £20-a-head show will be released in September, with the show due to open on 14 November and end three days before Christmas.
Castle of Light is being launched five years after the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh instigated an autumn light show. Its most recent incarnation, Christmas at the Botanics, now sells more than 75,000 tickets.
The team creating the Edinburgh Castle show includes artists, designers and producers who have worked on other major light show events such as Enchanted Forest, in Pitlochry, Spectra, in Aberdeen, and Cambo by Starlight.
Castle chiefs say the new event, which will run from 5.30-10pm, is aimed at people in Edinburgh who would not normally go to the castle, as well as visitors to the city during its Christmas festival.
It has been announced in the wake of the success of a one-off Knight at the Castle event staged after-hours last autumn as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People.
Government agency Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which runs the world-famous attraction, also staged a four-night light show at Craigmillar Castle, in Edinburgh, to celebrate its links with Mary Queen of Scots.
Gillian Macdonald, head of business development and enterprise at HES, said: “We’ve been thinking about doing an event like this for a couple of years. We felt there should be an event at the castle for people coming to the city at this time of year, which might also appeal to local audiences who would not normally go there unless there is a special event on. It felt like there was an opportunity to do something a bit different to everything else taking place in the city centre.
“Castle of Light will be the biggest light experience the city centre has ever seen. Using state of the art projections to create a truly wonderful, immersive and unique lighting experience within the castle’s iconic walls, it really will be something special.”
Paula Ward, regional leadership director at VisitScotland, said: “Edinburgh is a magical place during the festive season and already home to so many world-class visitor experiences. Castle of Light will be a welcome and exciting addition to the vibrant offering the capital has in the winter months and another reason for visitors to explore Scotland during the latter part of the year.”
A city council spokeswoman said: “Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations are internationally renowned and this sounds like it will be a new and exciting addition to the city’s winter festivities.”